CAMP GEN EMILIO AGUINALDO, Quezon City (DWDD) – The Armed Forces of the Philippines (AFP) recorded a total of 326 New People’s Army (NPA) rebels who surrendered to government forces in the month of January alone.
It may be recalled that the AFP announced on January 30 that a total of 310 NPAs surrendered from January 1 to 29. The additional two days from January 30 to 31 netted additional 16 NPAs surrenderees from different parts of the country.
The unprecedented number of surrenders is attributed to the call of President and AFP Commander in Chief Rodrigo Duterte on the rebels, as well as the hardship and sense of betrayal experienced by the returnees in staying with the NPA.
Noteworthy among the former rebels is Gemma Quiroga, 35, of Davao Oriental who surrendered to the 28th Infantry Battalion last 27 January. She was a squad medic of the NPAs operating in Davao Oriental and was also designated as Chairperson of ANAKPAWIS, a known leftist organization, in Mati City.
Five rebels also surrendered to the 25th Infantry Battalion in Compostela Valley on 29 January, including a 16-year-old alias RM. This is the latest case of NPA recruitment of minors which has already been documented in the past.
There were also seven surrenders from Arayat, Pampanga last 30 January and nine from Talacogon, Agusan del Sur last 28 January. Ten other members of NPA operating in Bicol also surrendered this month.
This adds up to the mass surrenders of seven NPA regular members and 35 members of Militia ng Bayan operating in Balud, Masbate last 21 January.
The AFP leadership congratulates its various units on the ground for the effective use of military pressure against the NPAs, as well as in their humane treatment of the former rebels.
The AFP hopes that the influx of surrenderees will encourage other rebels to lay down their arms, abandon violent extremism and embrace the peaceful path towards change. AFP PAO / MCAG